Ireland: Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill 2014

Last Updated: 23 May 2014
Article by Cian Beecher
Most Read Contributor in Ireland, October 2018

On 23 April 2014, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (the "Minister") published the Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill 2014 (the "Bill"). The Bill proposes to significantly amend Ireland's permission to work regime currently governed by the Employment Permits Acts 2003 and 2006 (the "Acts"). The overhaul will address perceived deficiencies and update the current employment permit process. The expansion of the employment permits regime has been identified as a key facet of the Irish Government's Action Plan to create 100,000 jobs by 2016 and it is intended that the Bill will provide for a more flexible and robust application process. It is proposed that the Bill will be introduced by July 2014.

CATEGORIES OF EMPLOYMENT PERMIT

The Bill proposes the following changes to the number and category of employment permits available to non-EEA nationals:

  • Critical Skills Employment Permit will replace the current Green Card Permit and will be provided to non-EEA nationals in sectors which have critical shortages of skills. Permit holders will be entitled to avail of immediate family reunification and a fast track to residency. (Part of the reasoning behind the renaming is to avoid confusion with the US Green Card regime.)
  • General Employment Permit will replace the current Work Permit and will be issued in cases where a contract for a designated highly skilled occupation has been offered for a duration of less than two years, or for other occupations apart from those included on a list of ineligible jobs, subject to satisfaction of the Labour Market Needs Test (demonstrating that the role could not be filled by an EEA national) and the other relevant criteria.
  • Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permits will be retained under the proposed legislation, which allows for the temporary transfer of employees between affiliated foreign and Irish companies on a temporary basis.
  • Contract for Services Employment Permit will permit a foreign entity to send non-EEA service providers to Ireland pursuant to an agreement with an Irish entity.
  • Dependant, Partner and Spouse Employment Permit will be available to family members of holders of Critical Skills Employment Permits and certain types of researchers who have entered Ireland under the Scheme for Admission of Third Country Researchers to Ireland, enabling the family members of such persons to work in Ireland. The Bill expressly extends the entitlement to apply for this permit to civil partners of holders of Critical Skills Employment Permits and researchers.
  • Exchange Agreement Employment Permit will allow reciprocal international arrangements facilitating the exchange of Irish nationals and non-EEA nationals (e.g. trade agreements including labour transfers and research/student exchange arrangements).
  • Sports and Cultural Employment Permits will permit non-EEA nationals with sporting or cultural expertise to work in Ireland e.g. professional sports players.
  • Internship Employment Permits will replace the existing procedures and will enable students of foreign institutions to work in Ireland, where such employment is a key component of the course they are studying.
  • Reactivation Employment Permits seek to address the current situation where a non-EEA national falls out of the employment permits system through no fault of their own. An applicant can only avail of this permit if he/she can establish that he/she originally entered the labour market legally on an employment permit, is not working illegally and has a real offer of employment. Additionally, the Minister for Justice and Equality must be satisfied that the circumstances of the case merit consideration of an employment permit.

OTHER PROCEDURAL AMENDMENTS

A key amendment to the current regime is the proposed change to the criteria for an employment permit. Notably, explicitly providing that the requirement to demonstrate compliance with the 50:50 rule (i.e. that employers seeking to hire non-EEA nationals on an employment permit maintain a workforce of at least 50% of EEA nationals) and compliance with the Labour Markets Needs Test will apply in respect of applications by both the employer and the non-EEA employee. This change should not cause significant issues for employers as this requirement is currently imposed on applications where the employer is the applicant. It is intended to remove a perceived loophole where the criteria may not have applied to employee applications. 

The exemption for compliance with the Labour Market Needs Test for Critical Skills Employment Permits and/or IDA supported employment permit applications will remain in place. 

An exception to the 50:50 Rule may be made in the case of start-up companies. Start-up companies will have up to two years from the date of the first employment permit being granted to comply with the 50:50 rule, where an enterprise development agency (such as the IDA) makes a recommendation in respect of the application and the Minister is satisfied that granting or renewing the employment permit concerned will contribute to the further development of employment in Ireland.

The Bill also seeks to rectify the deficiency in the current regime identified in Hussein v The Labour Court and Younis, where the High Court held that an illegally employed employee could not invoke the protection of Irish employment legislation as he did not possess an employment permit and consequently his contract of employment was illegal. If enacted, the Bill will extend the defence currently only available to employers that he/she took all reasonable steps to comply with the requirement of having an employment permit to employees. Additionally, the Bill provides that the Minister may take a civil action on the non-EEA national's behalf in respect of employment rights.

The Bill addresses another anomaly in the current system whereby a prospective employee, whose application is refused, can appeal the decision notwithstanding the fact that the application was made by or on behalf of the employer. The Bill proposes that where an applicant has not sought a review of the decision to refuse to grant an employment permit, the Minister may nonetheless direct that the decision to refuse to grant an employment permit be reviewed, where compelling information or evidence in relation to the application is received within 28 days of the decision to refuse.

THE TRUSTED PARTNER REGISTRATION SCHEME

One of the more innovative changes proposed to the employment permit scheme is the introduction of a Trusted Partner Registration Scheme (the "Scheme") jointly by the IDA and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. It is proposed to introduce the Scheme as a one year pilot scheme. The Scheme provides for a streamlined process for certain employers enabling a faster turnaround when applying for employment permits. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation intends that processing time for permits under the Scheme will be reduced to five business days. There will also be a reduction in the supporting documents required for application.

Initially the Scheme will only be available to existing clients and new start-ups who have been nominated by the IDA or Enterprise Ireland, and will remain under review. In particular, if a company has been convicted of a criminal offence under the employment permits legislation or generally under employment legislation, it will not be eligible to apply for the Scheme.

The application for Trusted Partner status must be accompanied by an IDA letter of support. If the application is successful, then the employer will be granted a unique Trusted Partner reference number which will be valid for a two-year period. As part of the application for Trusted Partner status, the company will be required to make certain declarations. Once registered, the employer can continue to use an agent to submit employment permit applications for its employees. It is proposed to launch the Scheme by the end of Q3 2014.

CONCLUSION 

2013–2014 has seen numerous changes and updates to the employment permit regime including a move to a declaration based online application form, increased customer service hours and a streamlining of advertisement requirements. 

It is intended that the Bill will consolidate the current permission to work regime, and has been generally welcomed. 

We will monitor the Bill's progress and issue a further update once it has been enacted.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions